How old is the oldest graduate?

Reading time: 2 minutes

Every week, Bec and Jeziel love to share an interesting fact they recently learned. Today I learned…

Christopher Langan

Christopher Langan was born in San Francisco in 1952 and Christopher Langan is a genius in his own right. At the age of four, he was already taught to read. In high school, says Langan, he taught himself “progressive math, physics, philosophy, Latin and Greek, all that stuff.” It is also reported that he got 100% on his SAT test, although he slept some of it. Langan attended Montana State University but dropped out. Like the main character in the 1997 film Good Will Hunting, Langan did not choose an academic career; Instead, he worked as a bouncer and developed his cognitive-theoretical model of the universe in his spare time. In 1999, neuropsychologist Robert Novelly told the television news magazine 20/20 that Langan’s IQ – between 195 and 210 – was the highest he had ever measured. Langan was called “the smartest man in America”.

Judit Polgár was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1976 and is undoubtedly considered the greatest female chess player in history. Polgár was a chess prodigy and defeated her first grandmaster when she was only 11 years old. She is currently the only woman in the top 100 female players of the World Chess Federation. She also beat nine world champions including Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov. In 1991, at the age of 15 years and five months, Polgár won the Hungarian national championship and became the youngest ever grandmaster – beating Bobby Fischer’s long-standing record by a month.

Apparently, the way Polgár’s father raised her and her sisters was part of an experiment to prove that “geniuses are made, not born.” And given Polgár’s reported IQ of 170 and his impressive achievements, he might be onto something.

Bryan Lowe, 102

A 102-year-old former student of the world’s second oldest university, Cambridge, has been awarded a master’s degree 85 years after he began his studies. Many things progressed, such as student service in the British Royal Navy during the Second World War and moving to another continent. Most of the time, however, “the student never got into it”. In the end, the reasons were irrelevant. When Bryan Lowe approached Cambridge in 2016 to see if he could get his master’s degree, which he started in 1931, the university was more than happy to oblige. Lowe, now armed with his degree, is not looking for career advancement, but he is happy to finally be able to vote in Cambridge University Senate elections.

A wish to graduate from college before age 100 was granted when Doreetha Daniels received her associate’s degree in social work from Canon College in Santa Clarita, California, in 2015. At age 90, Daniels admitted that he was bored with his life. Looking around, she saw that her grandchildren were going back to college for graduation, so she pursued a long-delayed dream. By taking two classes at the same time and always sitting in the front, Daniels rose to the challenge. She even overcame her fear of technology, so much so that playing computer games became her favorite pastime.

Margaret Bekema

Age: 97 Graduation Year: October 2015 Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA High School: Catholic Central High School

Photo credit: TODAY


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